Different Perspectives:
Understanding and Maintaining Multiple Perspectives in the Workplace

Arin N. Reeves
August 2009

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
– Sonia Maria Sotomayor

This quote from Sonia Sotomayor, delivered in a 1994 speech entitled A Latina Judge’s Voice, has framed a significant aspect of the debate around the first Latina nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. While Sotomayor’s supporters applaud her diverse life experiences as a Latina from the Bronx along with her extensive legal experience and her judicial record, her detractors point to this quote as evidence of racism. As Newt Gingrich tweeted, “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman’… new racism is no better than old racism.” Gingrich, subsequently, backed off his initial statement and stated that “[t]he word “racist” should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable.”

Think Smarter. Lead Better.

  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann